You Never Knew by Hieroglyphics



Well I am doing another episode of my wildly popular Hip Hop 101 series and this Friday we are going to be looking at 1987 and I want to share a few things you MIGHT not have known about some of the songs I’ll be playing. I’ll be imparting this wisdom here because I won’t have nearly enough time on the air because this show is STUFFED with dopeness.  If you are reading this blog you will be ahead of the rest of the class when we jump it off tomorrow night.  So sit back, relax, and GET SCHOOLED!!!


This Big Daddy Kane classic that actually has 3 versions.  One is the seldom heard Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap original.  The version I’m playing tomorrow night and the remix version that appears on the album.  Truthfully, we almost never heard Big Daddy Kane spit because initially, his label, Cold Chillin, only wanted to sign Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, and MC Shan.  This song was released as a 12″ and after it began to ring out in the streets, Cold Chillin had no choice but to put Kane on.  They threw it on the Colors soundtrack and Greg Mack played the SHIT out of it on KDAY in Los Angeles.  Kane wanted the original on the album but, Marley wanted his remix so for tomorrow night, we will fulfill Kane’s wish and run the solo original.


The obvious sample on this Biz Markie banger is Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle but another song that Marley Marl sampled was a little known jam from Lafayette Afro Rock called Hihache.  The version of the 12″ Marley had was severely scratched so Biz called around to a few of his friends to find another.  He called Afrika Bambaataa who didn’t have a copy and Grandmaster Flash.  Flash did not have one either but he knew of an African record store on Utica where Biz could find it.  Biz slept in front of that record store and bought every copy they had when they opened.  Now THAT’S Hip Hop!


Criminal Minded by Boogie Down Productions was recorded in two weeks at Power Play studios and it’s no big secret it was mainly  produced by Ced Gee of Ultramagnetic MC’s.  Interesting story about this album.  Most everything was recorded in one take.  Since KRS had never recorded before he thoought that’s how it was done.  Add to that, studio time wasn’t cheap for a homeless man (KRS) and a social worker (Scott La Rock) so they went in about their business!  In fact, on The Bridge Is Over the piano tuning at the beginning is KRS ACTUALLY TUNING THE PIANO!  Also this was KRS first time promoted himself as a teacher and he came with a new style when he says “KRS ONE means simply one KRS that’s it, that’s all, single, no more, no less!”  KRS has been around for years and I have seen his relevance debated but you can’t argue his influence and he coined the phrase “Rap is something you do, Hip Hop is someting you live.”  If that isn’t relevant today I don’t know what is and besides I’m the Professor, how could I not respect The Teacher!??!?!


EPMD member PMD (Parrish Smith) was a student at Southern Conneticut State University and they were a huge melting pot back then and they had dorms with both black and white students.  On a pretty regular basis he woke up to a ZZ Top song called “Cheap Sunglasses” Parrish fell in love with this song and decided to sample it. Basically,  he muted everything but the bassline and of course the super obvious Steve Miller “Fly Like an Eagle” was sampled as well.  It was the B side to It’s My Thing but according to E Double, the B side won again and You’re a Customer was banging in the streets.  Also their slow flow was unprecedented at that time and was kind of the father to Jay Z’s much lauded conversational style. 


Eric B & Rakim’s classic was named strictly for the purpose of back in the day people used to put slogans on the side of their cars.  “Gettin Money” and things like that, so in a stroke of marketing genius, he named the song as such.  Oh yeah if you don’t know that IS Flavor Flav in the video!!!! 


Chuck used to deliver refrigerators for his dad and after awhile he put Flavor Flav on. ( who is a musical prodigy, he sang in the youth choir at his church and mastered the piano, drums, and guitar at an early age. He eventually became proficient in 15 instruments.  He may act stupid but he’s no dummy!)  The intro to this where Flav says “Now remeber that line you was kicking to me On the way out to L.I. While we was in the car on our way to the Shop?  Well yo right now kick the bass for them brothers And let them know What goes on”  The rhyme that Chuck kicks after Flav says that IS the rhyme that Chuck said when they were on the way to the shop!!!  It was a battle rhyme that Chuck wrote because there were some suckers that were calling the Spectrum City Radio show that Chuck hosted  “saying Chuckie D (as he was called then) swears he’s nice.”  Well 23 years later we ALL KNOW he’s nice.  This song is also how the group got their name.  I wonder whatever happened to the guys that wanted to battle Chuck? (*crickets chirping*)  


According to Philadelphia native Schooly D alot of the things in this song actually happened!!!!  He said his moms didn’t have a gun but he said it felt like she did.  He said he got caught sneaking girls up to his room on a regular basis and his mom fucked up his room alot AND she did kick a LOT of asses.  He said a few things were exaggerated but for the most part, this song, as crazy as it seems is true!


I am appreciating the love you all give the show, the blog, and the quizzes.  The Hip Hop 101 series is a way for me to say thanks to those that made the music that played a huge part in making me the man I am today.  Also it’s a way for me to show love to my old school fans and maybe share some knowledge with my new school fans about back in the day.  The Delorean is getting it’s monthly tune up (what can I say? It’s a old car!) and will be ready tomorrow.  Will you?      

Ya Man,

The Professor



~ by Professor Mike on March 25, 2010.

8 Responses to “You Never Knew by Hieroglyphics”

  1. This is a very informative blog, you always school me. I love your writing, it’s so entertaining! WTG Professor!

  2. Oh man, thanks a ton, this is raw stuff on there, im loving it. cant wait for the 87 shows. It seems like the rappers now (disregarding the underground scene) just dont seem to have as good of a grasp on the english language in their rap, with this stuff on your blog their rhymes have all sorts of different literary elements to them which i just dont see around anymore, but thanks again for showing me the blog

  3. There is some details that you had left out of this note. Like how Marley Marl was at 1st leery of working with Kane when he had showed up unannounced to his Queensbridge studio, How Rick Rubin had literally begged Chuck D to sign Public Enemy to Def Jam & Chuck insisting that Flav had to be a part of the deal, & how legendary, hip-hop celebrity stick up kid, Kelvin “50 Cent” Martin used to roll with Eric B. & was prominently featured on the “Paid In Full” album photos…

    • no I didn’t forget any of those things. It was more about the little known facts of the songs. Actually Rick called Chuck everyday for months to sign and Chuck threw him shade because he felt rapping was a “Young Man’s Game” but I am fully aware of that but I appreciate you putting it up for those that aren’t. Good Lookin”

      • I would like to see you do a piece on Lawrence “L.G. The Teacher” Goodman & Pop Art Records…

  4. can’t wait for tonight’s show, been lookin forward to this this whole week!

  5. actually The Philly scene kinda started coming into it’s own in 87. The Hilltop Hustlers and the Philly Scene have been on my mind a lot lately. For those that don’t know Pop Art is the First hip hop label in Philly. LG was also the dad of one of Da Youngstas. In addition to putting Philly on the map he produced music for Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince among others. His son learned Production from his dad and has produced everybody from Amerie to 50 Cent

  6. Professor, I really appreciate that history man. Some I knew, some I did not. Real good stuff.

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